Compared to previous years, 2016’s Camden Rocks Festival seemed to be overly quieter and less congested than before- meaning more durable walking to and throw. The weather held off and provided a reasonable temperature for the all-dayer, which ultimately meant no soggy umbrellas in cloakrooms. Though The Barfly seemed to always be accommodating a large queue, the other participating venues were a straight-in entry which meant everyone was able to see who they intended to.
Our day commenced with the endearing Zoax, who performed at The Underworld. Zoax always seem to hold their own and never seem to leave punters disappointed and with their self-titled debut album ‘Zoax’ out now, there were many giant new rock anthems to be enjoyed.
On to The Dublin Castle where our hotly picked, must-see act Black Foxxes were enforcing their rough-lined, powerful set to an eagerly awaiting audience. The Dublin Castle screams charisma, with the front being a welcoming pub which winds to two double doors, hiding an adequately sized venue.
The half an hour set included all their admired released tracks such as ‘Husk’, ‘River’ and their latest single ‘I’m Not Well’. “Are you enjoying yourselves?” Holley questions, “…well it’s all about to go downhill!” as the trio plough into their unrecognisable cover of the late David Bowie’s ‘Suffragette’- which had the whole room in a magnetized state of movement. By continuously aggressively throwing themselves around the miniscule stage, Black Foxxes showed the festival they know exactly how to put on a show.
Swiftly over to begin the night at The Electric Ballroom, where a certain Libertines frontman was performing. Carl Barat & The Jackals were graced with an extremely receptive and energetic audience, scattering themselves on top of each other at every opportunity. Though hints of Libertine-esque sound, Carl Barat & The Jackals bring the enjoyment back to shows. Inflatable balls being released, and Barat lobbing himself from one side to another, replicated the same energy seen at a major summer festival. “Thank you to all who are moving up and down down there, it means the world to us”, Barat preached on stage.
Half way through the set, the band exited the stage and left Barat to entertain the crowd for two songs, with just his acoustic, “I’ve been Carl Barat… and here are The Jackals…”, pointing to the re-entering band members.
With Barat’s guitar level piercing through the PA, the punchy yet melodic spurts of instrumentals and the iconic rock attire; long messy mop, the leather jackets and the unnecessary amount of jewellery, completely encapsulated the late 70’s- which is the nostalgic experience we all crave.
Playing for just over an hour, Carl Barat & The Jackals were the perfect choice to lead into the much acclaimed indie rockers, The Cribs.
Forming in 2002 The Cribs, over the 14 years together have complied a loyal and boisterous fan base. After We Are The Ocean and Escape The Fate both pulled out as headliners, The Cribs were the last men standing and boy did they take advantage of it. “How are we doing Camden? You beautiful specimens!” Ryan Jarman roars.
Consisting of three brothers, Ross (Drums) and twins Gary (Vocals and Bass) and Ryan (Guitar and Vocals), The Cribs hold a strong dynamic on stage. With guitarist and vocalist Ryan Jarman, violently throwing his mic stand around the stage- merely ever facing the audience, whilst Gary forcefully projects his voice over the indie-rock drumming. The two voices blended harmoniously; neither out shining one another, which is hard to master. Mass encouragements were made from the Jarman brothers, claiming “Mosh pits? That was cool Camden…”
Closing down the live music at The Electric Ballroom for this year’s Camden Rocks was an easy task for the Yorkshire trio – taking to their official Instagram account soon afterwards, “Thankyou Camden. That was a really fun punk rock show x”.